Can Glaucoma Lead to Blindness?

Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in the United States and affects about 3 million Americans. It often doesn’t lead to any noticeable symptoms until it causes vision loss, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as “the silent thief of sight.”

Here at Paragon Eye Associates in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, our expert optometrists and ophthalmologists provide comprehensive eye exams and diagnose glaucoma before it causes vision damage. We also offer customized treatments to deal with the disease and prevent blindness.

About glaucoma

There are several different types of glaucoma, but all types increase pressure in your eye, which can damage your optic nerve. Open-angle glaucoma is the most prevalent type of the disease. It develops gradually and is asymptomatic in its early stages. 

Closed-angle glaucoma is less common but has a rapid onset and is considered a medical emergency. 

While open-angle glaucoma doesn’t cause symptoms in its early stages, you’ll eventually notice a loss of peripheral vision. Closed-angle glaucoma, on the other hand, causes:

If you notice any of these symptoms, call us right away or go to your nearest emergency room for immediate treatment.

How glaucoma damages your vision

Your eyes are filled with fluid. Excess fluid drains from your eyes through drainage angles between your pupil and cornea. 

Those drainage angles aren’t blocked with open-angle glaucoma, but problems deeper in your eye prevent fluid from draining correctly. The excess fluid builds up and gradually increases your intraocular pressure. 

When you have closed-angle glaucoma, something blocks your drainage angles — imagine what happens when a paper covers the drain in your sink or bathtub. This causes a much more rapid buildup of fluid and an increase in eye pressure. 

In both situations, the extra pressure in your eye compresses your optic nerve, causing damage. 

Early glaucoma diagnosis

Early diagnosis is critical to effective glaucoma treatment. During your comprehensive eye exam, we use special tests to measure your eye pressure. If you have elevated eye pressure, we perform additional tests to examine your optic nerve, test your vision, and look for other signs of glaucoma.

Routine eye exams are essential to monitoring your eye health and checking for signs of glaucoma and other eye diseases that can lead to vision loss. 

Glaucoma treatment

The good news is that when diagnosed early, we can treat glaucoma and prevent vision loss and blindness. Depending on your needs, we might recommend medicated eye drops or laser treatments, such as trabeculoplasty or iridotomy, to improve your eye drainage. 

You might also benefit from a trabeculectomy or the implantation of a tiny drainage device. In some cases, cataract surgery can unblock drainage angles and reduce your intraocular pressure. 

In summary, while glaucoma can cause blindness, vision loss can be prevented with early and effective treatment. Routine eye exams are your first defense against this disease. 

If you’re due for an eye exam or have any concerns about glaucoma or other eye health problems, call our offices in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, or send a message to our team online today. 

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